Ignorance Will Kill the Kingdom

I was speaking with a group of pastors the other day. The topic of stewardship came up, as it often does when I am in the room. We talked about how larger portions of congregation budgets are being provided by fewer donors. There used to be the 80/20 rule that 80 percent was given by 20 percent of the people. Recent studies have shown a shift to 90/10, and worse. The problem is that ignorance of this fact is growing as well.

The critical problem occurs when these large donors leave, either because they move, they get mad, or they die. Making up the difference from a few large donors can be nearly impossible for many churches.

When you have a large donor or several, you should celebrate. However, you should work exceedingly hard to fight against that ignorance and raise up other donors. Just because the Smiths will write a check at the end of the year to balance your budget, doesn’t make that a good thing.

In fact, when you have that situation, growing your donor base should become even more critical. I suggested to these pastors that they encourage these large donors to use their gifts to help raise up other generous donors. This can happen by matching or challenge gifts. Even better, it can happen by personal witness and faith sharing by the donors who understand generosity. If we are going to replace these donors someday, we have to be teaching the next generation how to become like them.